Even though Our Town Downtown didn’t resume publication until Sept. 1 of this year, the last four months have seen a wide range of activity in Downtown Manhattan. Here are some of our favorite issues and stories that Our Town Downtown has covered in 2011:
(1) Anniversary of 9/11
Our first issue was titled “The Reasons We Love Downtown,” but that could have been the title of our second issue, which preceded the anniversary of 9/11. Everything we love about our neighborhoods and our city was on display, both on the day of the attacks and in the decade since: resiliency, courage, compassion, community, determination and pride in being a New Yorker. It was especially wonderful to see the National September 11 Memorial & Museum open to the public the next day.
(2) Occupy Wall Street
When OWS first started their occupation, no one paid much attention to the motley crew of disenfranchised youth armed only with tents, sleeping bags and ideas. But after mass marches and waves of arrests, often visible in the media, the ideology of Occupy spread across the country faster than a bed bug epidemic. Despite the eviction of Zuccotti Park, the embers of OWS continue to burn.
(3) School Rezoning
As the residential population of Downtown Manhattan continues to rise, wait lists and the need for more schools in the area have endured as hot-button issues over the years. While the Department of Education opened the Spruce Street School this year, the problem resurfaced when the DOE once again examined rezoning not only to combat wait lists but in preparation for the 2015 opening of the much-anticipated Peck Slip School. While Peck Slip has added more seats for a new total of 712, parents in the area seem resolute in their belief that the area needs more schools—the sooner the better.
Despite being in a danger zone, Downtown was mercifully spared the full wrath of Hurricane Irene this August. But though the storm was something of an anticlimax for those of us who stayed behind to brave the worst, we all were reassured by the smooth enforcement of safety regulations. From instructing New Yorkers to leave their homes in a timely manner to getting seniors and other New Yorkers to evacuation centers, Mayor Bloomberg and city officials left no doubt that the next time a hurricane is headed for us, New York City will be prepared.
<h6> Photo by Andrew Schwartz </h6>
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